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Later Life Guide

Health issues and concerns of older adults - and how to cope

Why a Resource Guide for Later Life?

While we all hope to live healthy, productive, happy lives, in truth we all face health challenges at some point, usually later in our lives. Chronic illness or disability - either our own, or of those we care for - may complicate our activities of daily life. We find ourselves faced with often-difficult decisions to make about health care, about quality of life, about our legacies, and about how best to leave this life. The paths we take towards end-of-life are what we mean by the phrase "later life".

The concerns discussed in this guide - mobility & balance, disordered sleep, memory loss, depression, and grief - are often connected. We may need to address more than one concern to resolve problems.

While many people assume that these problems are a natural result of growing older, in truth they are not inevitable parts of the aging process.

This guide is part of a series. Our other guides are:

How many people does this effect?

According to the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, more than 90 million Americans live with at least one chronic illness, and seven out of ten Americans die from chronic disease. As of 2016, the California Department of Aging estimated that approximately 361,566 adults age 60 and older resided in Santa Clara County. The 2014 American Community Survey found that this estimate accounts for nearly 17% of the county population.

But in truth, all of us are touched by the people in our lives - family, friends, co-workers - who are living with chronic illness, failing health, or disability.

About the Content in This Guide

We believe that being well-informed is key to taking better care of health (our own, and of our loved ones), and empowers us to work more effectively with our health care professionals. 

PlaneTree Health Library strives to guide the public to trustworthy, accurate, and free-to-use health and medical information. Links on these webpages have been chosen from authoritative and reputable non-commercial sites (nonprofit organizations, medical specialty groups, or government agencies). All of that information is freely accessible. We never link to advertisements and we avoid infomercials. 

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While PlaneTree Health Library strives to guide you to reliable, valid, up-to-date information, every person's situation is unique. Be sure to discuss information gathered from these resources with your health care providers to see if it is relevant to your individual situation. Health and medical information accessed through these websites is not intended to substitute for or to replace the advice or instruction of a health care professional. Likewise, legal and financial information is provided for educational purposes only. These webpages are no substitute for professional legal, financial, or social work advice.

PlaneTree Health Library is not responsible for the content on web sites accessed from our site. Each originating organization has sole responsibility for its web pages. Our intention is to provide patients, their families, and caregivers with trustworthy information to help them make informed decisions.

About PlaneTree Health Library

PlaneTree Health Library is committed to guiding people to trustworthy, accurate, and free-to-use health and medical information. We believe that being well-informed is key to taking better care of our health (and our families), and to work more effectively with our health care professionals. Our library is an all-online, curated  collection of links to the best resources for patient and consumer health.

While our work focuses on the information needs of people in Santa Clara County CA, many of those concerns are universal. Our content is freely available on the web to the general public at .

PlaneTree Health Library itself is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It is independently funded by our community (since 2007), including support from the Sobrato Center, All Good Work, and Ninja Number.

The text on this page is copyright PlaneTree Health Library, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA. Linked contents are the responsibility of their creators / copyright holders.